This time it's a bit different. We are moving into a home that God has given to us to buy. A small condo on the West End of Alameda.
We are excited to enter this new stage of life. It makes me feel like a real grown up (the 3 kids don't always make me feel that way) to have a mortgage.
While I'm excited for this grown-up stage of life, part of me is sad to leave behind the one-year-at-a-time-renting life. I don't want to forget all the ways that God made himself and his plans for us evident through all the homes Jeff and I have been given in our 9 years of marriage...
Rental #1: Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY
Our first place together. Tiny studio where our bed took up the whole "bedroom" area, wall-to-wall, so we had to climb into bed from the foot of the bed. Somehow, we still were able to have people over to play Wii and eat tacos. Random fact: the closet was so narrow that we couldn't hang our clothes on regular sized hangers. (There are no pictures from this time, because this might've been before Facebook? ::sad face emoji::)
Rental #2: Apartment in Escondido, CA
The seminary life. It was two bedrooms (REAL bedrooms!) and it felt like a mansion! I was working at a school in Temecula and Jeff was in school full time and it was the only time we had a place with a dishwasher. We had a funny neighbor who loved to be shirtless all the time (a male neighbor), and this was the first home we brought Jonas home to.
Rental #3: The Lauterbachs' home in Escondido, CA
The nicest house we ever got to live in. We stayed in two of their bedrooms and though we had no money (Jeff was waiting tables while attending seminary full-time!), it was the sweetest time of love and fellowship with Mark and Rondi. I learned the proper way to set a table and how to make my salad dressings. I still miss Zavi (the best dog ever) and our afternoon coffee times.
Rental #4: 31st Ave, San Francisco, CA
When we were visiting the Kurths as they were getting ready to plant Christ Church, we took a walk in their neighborhood and saw a "For Rent" sign on a building around the corner from them. We called and took the 1 bedroom right away. Jonas had an adorable room that was actually a closet (but it did have a window) and we had awesome wood floors which made up for the tiny kitchen. We had many friends over for meals (Thanksgivings!) and games (Settlers!) and lived around the corner from some of our favorite friends (Kurths!)
Rental #5: 22nd Ave., San Francisco, CA
Lo and behold, God grew our family and we couldn't fit TWO kids into a closet (or could we? I bet we could've if we had tried...) so we down the street to 22nd Ave. This place had THREE bedrooms (palatial I tell you!) and we were able to have various boarders stay with us. This was Penny's first home and she also spent the first 6 months of life in a closet (I really think babies sleep better in closets.) Birthday parties, small group meetings, craft parties, dinners, celebrations, we loved life on 22nd Ave. And, we were so happy it stayed in the family when the Mercados moved in after we left.
Rental #6: Haight St, Alameda, CA
God called us to plant Grace Alameda and we set out to find a place in Alameda. We found this rental on Haight St and it was the only place we could afford but it was perfect as an introduction to the island. We were one block from the farmer's market and two blocks from a park and less than half a mile from Jonas's preschool. Being on the ground floor with people overhead proved to be bad news for Jeff (a very light sleeper) so we ended up only being there for a year, but we enjoyed our time on the West End very much.
Rental #7: Encinal Ave, Alameda, CA
Alameda was becoming a crazy place to rent/live so as we got ready to move, everything seemed out of our price range. It was by God's grace that we were the first ones to see the place we are leaving now. Literally, I was the first one to show up at the open house when it was listed and had my application ready. When we first moved in, it was a funky little mint green house and our landlords had it painted a nice gray with dark blue accents. It has a white fence, side yard where had bbqs and planted a garden, and we had two stories for the first time ever. We have had many many people here, our Grace Alameda family for meetings, dinners, hang-outs, parties. This was Emma's first home. We are sad to leave but are looking forward to what's next...
We're going, going, back, back to... the West End! (Cali, Cali...)